It hasn't been the best start to the 2021 season for second-year Indianapolis Colts' running back Jonathan Taylor.
Projected by many outlets to lead the NFL in rushing in his second season after a terrific close to his rookie year, Taylor has found it hard to run in a new-look Colts' offense with Carson Wentz at quarterback, along with an offensive line that's looked like more of a revolving door than anything this season due to injuries and inconsistent play.
Sunday's performance on the road against the Miami Dolphins was a step in the right direction for the standout running back though, as Taylor rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in the Colts' 27-17 win — their first of the season.
Despite the rough start to the 2021 season, Taylor was listed by NFL.com's Gil Brandt as the top player that will bounce back after a rough start this season, in which he had just 171 rushing yards on 42 carries, and an additional eight receptions for 70 yards.
"Taylor already overcame one slow start, as a rookie last season, when he rounded into shape down the stretch to vault into the top 10 in rushing yards," Brandt writes. "He didn't exactly hit the ground running in 2021, averaging just 4.1 yards per carry through the first three weeks, including a truly uninspiring mark of 3.3 over Weeks 1 and 2. I think that was probably a reflection of team-wide struggles, as the Colts spent much of those three games trying to come back from deficits, and lode-bearing pieces on offense like Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson dealt with injuries. On Sunday against the Dolphins, though, Taylor roared back to life, churning out 103 yards on 16 carries, including a 38-yard run and a 23-yard score. Those big plays are an encouraging sign -- consider that in the first half of his rookie season, he posted just one run of 20-plus yards, but in the second half, he racked up six."
Taylor's performance against the Dolphins was a breath of fresh air for an offense that has struggled to have any semblance of balance early in the season. While the offensive line remains banged up across the board, Taylor needs to get into a groove on the ground, giving the Colts some balance offensively under head coach Frank Reich.
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